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 Post subject: 'Sulanga Enu Pinisa' - The Forsaken Land: A rare achievement
 Post Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 2:37 am 
'Sulanga Enu Pinisa' - The Forsaken Land: A rare achievement

'Sulanga Enu Pinisa' - The Forsaken Land Directed by Vimukthi Jayasundara

HAVING seen 'Sulanga Enu Pinisa' - The Forsaken Land - at a private screening I can understand why Vimukthi Jayasundara won the prestigious Camera d 'OR for a first feature film at the Cannes International Film Festival in May this year.

I can also understand why the Jury was divided, the Chairman finally threatening to quit, using his double vote to force a compromise - so that the prize was eventually shared between the young American woman director and Vimukthi Jayasundara.

In the light of the above it would be interesting to see how local audiences as well as critics react to the film in Sri Lanka. Will it demand a change of perception in how movies are seen? Will it imply a change of sensibility to respond to what indeed is a new approach to narrative cinema?

Firstly, Vimukthi makes no concessions whatever to popular taste. There is no story; hardly any dialogue; the narrative focuses intently on a series of images which in its inexorable progression builds up a sense of foreboding. Music is felt more in its absence than its presence.

However the narrative moves forward in a hypnotically slow pace leading the spectator to the very heart of darkness. There are only six characters who play against a landscape devastated by war, a waste land of putrefaction, despair, violence, horror and death. Casual sex appears to be the only activity.

An old man tells folk tales to a little girl. An army truck full of soldiers moves across the blighted landscape like some giant slug. An incompetent soldier mans a security check point - whilst his wife carries on with a solider. An anonymous character (probably a Tiger guerilla) covered in a shroud - like white sheet is hacked to death.

The cumulative effect of these little stories combine to present a fresco of suffering, humiliation and despair. All this is handled by Vimukthi with an assurance that is surprising in a first feature film. Every aspect of film - making, picture, sound, acting the use of the landscape are all deployed towards one end - to project the image of a -forsaken land.

There is no doubt Vimukthi has absorbed all that is necessary to choose his own individual style from his 3 year training in France's Finest School of film - making. The greatest influence on his work he admits is that of the late Russian director Andrei Tarkorsky, whom he refers to as his God.

This is not to imply that his film is a pastiche - far from it. As a film Student in Paris, he must have seen the work of all the Modern Master. Tarkorsky, with his very individual style must have suited his own vision of what he wants to say in the most effective way of saying it about his war ravaged Motherland.

Though the powerful impact of the film can be attributed to the combined efforts of artists and technicians, special praise is due to the Director of Photography whose images often have the texture of paintings.

However the ultimate accolade should go to young Vimukthi Jayasundara for 'Sulanga Enu Pinisa' is a remarkable film debut and a unique achievement for Sri-Lankan cinema.

- Lester James Peries

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 Post Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 2:54 pm 

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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:41 pm 
There is no doubt that VJ has artistic talent. But there is also no doubt that he would sell his own mother or rather pimp his own mother for either his atristic satisfaction or for money, fame and rewards.

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